Outside the Boks: Paranoid Fifa minions show there is no end to their red tape
Sunday 20 June 2010
Fifa's bizarre behaviour over unapproved suppliers knows no bounds. Throwing out the Dutch ladies discreetly promoting a make of beer at the Holland-Denmark game with a logo far tinier than their dresses was one thing. Now an eyewitness reports seeing a minion at one media centre using gaffer tape to cover up the name of Hewlett Packard on a printer.
Company sticks by Green
Who would you want to be advertising the reliability under all conditions of your goalkeeping gloves at this World Cup? Robert Green? Good to know that Sells Goalkeeper Products of Huddersfield, who have supplied the tormented West Ham keeper for the past 10 years, are continuing to back him after his mishap against the US. And that you too can own a pair of the peculiarly named "Wrap Axis Aqua" gloves for a mere £60. "We're sticking with Robert," the firm's marketing director told the Yorkshire Evening Post. More firmly than Clint Dempsey's speculative shot, one hopes.
Dutch courage pays off
Fabio's goalkeepers, and the rest of the England players, may fret until the last minute about who will play, but there are no such worries in the normally fractious Holland squad. The numbers 1-11 were given long ago to the preferred starting team, and had No 11 Arjen Robben been fit for the opener against Denmark, that is how they would have lined up. As it was, they fielded 1-10, with No 23 Rafael van der Vaart standing in for the former Chelsea winger. The coach Bert van Marwijk comes across as a humourless character but he had a knowing line about deciding to billet his men right in the middle of the Sandton business district instead of hiding them in the country: "I know with Dutch players in the same hotel for six weeks there will be some things happening!" Fortunately, he did not go into details.
Wigan keepers all the rage
How Wigan Athletic fans must have enjoyed last week's game between Serbia and Ghana, in which the club supplied both goalkeepers from the ranks of their reserves. Richard Kingson kept a clean sheet for Ghana, who won when Vladimir Stojkovic was beaten by a late penalty. Last season Kingson did not play a League game for the Latics and Stojkovic had only four, as the usual first choice was Chris Kirkland, who must have been close to selection as England's third choice. It is not unique for a club to have sent two keepers to a World Cup (Honduras have two from Olimpia this time), but three would surely have set a record.
Remember this goal rush?
The answer to last week's quiz question was that Austria had to withdraw from the 1938 World Cup because the country had been annexed by Germany, who forced a number of leading Austrian players to turn out for them. Not that it did much good: to Hitler's undoubted fury, Switzerland beat them in a first-round replay. This week: Which countries were involved in the group at a final tournament that produced 32 goals in its four matches? Answer next Sunday.
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